5 must-have iPhone Hacks to make mobile movies

I’m a big fan of “Next Generation Cinema” that’s evolving fast from the combination of a DIY work ethos coupled with smarter, faster and more adept phone platforms and robust “cellular-cinema” support devices being released every day.

John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, extols the virtues of smaller platform filmmaking and the possibilities of this new, mobile cinema technology.

 As noted in Variety, Lasseter believes these new breakthroughs in filmmaking platforms will continue to drive the art form forward in new and unique ways.

Story will continue to be key to the success of any film.  But it’s the accessibility and versatility of these new tools that make this evolution so exciting.

Urging filmmakers to “be wrong as fast as they can,” Lasseter is not wrong in embracing the platform’s vibrancy and compact form as “NextGen” artists adapt to the opportunities.

In keeping with Mr. Lasseter’s predictions, here are my Top 5 iPhone Hacks for shooting your next film.

#1. MOONDOG ANAMORPHIC ADAPTER. One of breakout films at 2015 Sundance film festival was “Tangerine,” shot entirely on the iPhone using the Moondog Anamorphic adapter to create a full Cinemascope widescreen more in keeping with larger studio-driven movie fare.

Moondog’s adapter, currently back ordered on its website, is the “must-have” addition to every phone filmmaker working today. Click online videos here to see the adapter in action.


Only $7.99 on the Apple App store, this go-to robust software is a high-end camera killer with focus, aperture and Moondog Anamorphic Adapter (above) support allowing filmmakers all the tools they need to shoot with full complete artistic control.

FiLMiC Pro is the 2x Video Camera App of the Year Winner that beat the $5000 Sony FS100 and tied the $13,000 Canon C300 in blind audience testing at the “Zacuto: Revenge of the Great Camera Shoot Out,” so it’s a must-have.


For less than $40, this device generates its own Wi-Fi signal allowing phone filmmakers to offload their footage in the field to this backup unit and then delete the files on their phones to free up space (if need be).

A simple USB connector plugs into your personal computer to back up again in the field. Shooting at HD will allow you 100 minutes-plus of high resolution footage all without a plug or power source in sight. Pick it up on Amazon here.


Charge your phone on the fly up to six times before having to plug in with this top-rated portable battery. Also priced for less than $40, this go-to battery pack is super slim and powerful and comes in even larger sizes for your on-the-run needs. I’ve got one in my pocket at all times. Buy them here.


This solid aluminum frame camera cage gives you a metal rugged exterior to protect your phone-camera, and it boasts multiple mounting points for tripod, lights and portable microphone attachments — plus a bonus Macro/Wide Angle lens that works with the iPhone.

I use this for all of my mobile movies and it’s another must-have for filmmakers looking to shoot cinema-quality projects with the optimum support base for advanced cinematography. Pick it up here.

Julian Grant will teach a Columbia College lecture/workshop class on cellular cinema in the fall.  This exclusive hands-on program will include Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens.